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Pedestrian Safety for Kids: Fatality Statistics for Schools and Crosswalks

The topic of crosswalk safety is coming to the forefront of traffic safety circles, as the percentage of auto accidents involving pedestrians rises in most areas of the country.  According to the NHTSA, or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2009, a pedestrian was injured every nine minutes in the United States, and one was killed every two hours. Unfortunately, children 15 years of age and younger accounted for 25% of all traffic-related pedestrian injuries in 2009, making pedestrian safety for kids an especially important area of concern. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has placed intersection safety at the top of the list for the most high-risk area of transportation. 

Safety is incredibly difficult at intersections.  These planned points of traffic conflict are one of the highest-risk junctions on the road.  Individuals are forced to make complex speed and distance judgments under tight time constraints.  Of the hundreds of thousands of fatalities that have occurred over the past decade, nearly 23% of those fatalities took place at an intersection.

Common causes for intersection fatalities are behaviors practiced by more than 90% of drivers.  Some even admit to performing these actions on a daily basis.  These include running red lights, using electronic devices, ignoring stop signs, and generally being in a hurry.  Surprisingly, these behaviors account for more intersection pedestrian fatalities than the use of drugs and/or alcohol. 

Schools also must stress pedestrian safety for kids; on average, 11 people are killed in school bus-related accidents annually.  Even though this number is small compared to the overall scope of school system transportation, it still reflects a disturbing reality.  Commercial traffic products, as well as road user education are key to lowering these numbers. 

Local municipalities and states across the country, have a vested interest in making walkways and school zones safe for pedestrians. Pedestrian safety for kids as well as general crosswalk safety takes a combined effort on the part of private companies that manufacture traffic safety products, as well as the communities with an interest in protecting their citizens.